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Kim Jong Nam murder suspect thought hit was a prank: lawyer

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A Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother with a nerve agent thought she was taking part in a practical joke and only realised he was dead after her arrest, a court heard Tuesday.
Doan Thi Huong is on trial with Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah over the Cold War-style killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 last year.

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Defence lawyers have argued that the women were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were instead tricked into becoming inadvertent assassins, in an elaborate plot by a group of North Korean agents.

The women, in their 20s, have denied murdering Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother by smearing VX nerve agent on his face as he waited for a flight to Macau. They face death by hanging if found guilty.

Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the trial that one of four North Koreans suspected of involvement in the murder had recruited the Vietnamese woman to perform what she thought were pranks.

According to Huong’s police statement presented to the High Court in Shah Alam, she travelled to Malaysia not long before the assassination.

In the days before the murder, Huong went to Kuala Lumpur airport twice and met the North Korean, whom she knew as Mr. Y, according to the statement.

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The court previously heard his real name was Ri Ji Hyon, and he fled Malaysia shortly after the murder with the other North Korean suspects.

Under his instructions Huong carried out pranks which involved sneaking up behind people and rubbing her hands on their face, the court heard.

On the day of the assassination, Mr Y. gave her an oily substance that she rubbed on the face of a man.

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After washing her hands, she took a taxi back to her hotel.

She only found out he was dead on February 16 — a day after her arrest — when police told her, according to her statement.

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Aisyah, who attacked Kim around the same time as Huong, also claimed she was hired to conduct pranks.

“Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong are scapegoats,” lawyer Hisyam told the court, as he questioned the chief investigating police officer, Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz. The trial continues.


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75 years ago: When atomic scientist Leo Szilard tried to halt dropping bombs over Japan

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As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention.  They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki).   Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date:  July 3.

On July 3, 1945, the great atomic scientist Leo Szilard finished a letter/petition that would become the strongest (virtually the only) real attempt at halting President Truman's march to using the atomic bomb--still almost two weeks from its first test at Trinity--against Japanese cities.

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‘Insane’: Park ranger shoots unarmed man through his heart and then handcuffs his dead body

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A ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park tased and then fatally shot a man during a New Mexico traffic stop and then handcuffed his lifeless body.

Charles "Gage" Lorentz was traveling March 21 from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family's home in southwest Colorado when he detoured at the national park to meet a friend, and that's where he encountered National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell, reported KOB-TV.

The ranger stopped the 25-year-old Lorentz for speeding on a dirt road near the park's Rattlesnake Springs area, and Mitchell's lapel video shows him ordering Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing.

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Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

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President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "some criminal" in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump's earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

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